Try Dry App: User Guide

So, you’ve downloaded Try Dry: the Dry January app. Brilliant! Here’s your guide to making the most of it.

If you haven’t got the app yet, don’t wait. It’s your free support system that’s proven to double your chances of having a month totally alcohol-free.

Download Try Dry: the Dry January app for Apple or Android.

Forgot password issue: We are aware of a problem that some users are not receiving their forgot password email. We are working on a fix and will have an update by 22 January 2021 on this. Please check the instructions below to rule out issues with personal inboxes.

Calendar dates issue. Please update your Try Dry app to version 1.2.24 this will fix the issue of dates/days of the week being out by a day.

Thank you so much for your understanding!

Five steps to get most of the app and Dry January

  1. Use the latest version 1.2.24
  2. Turn notifications on. This helps encourage you to keep logging your days, even if you didn’t stay dry.
  3. Sign-up for emails. During Dry January these daily coaching emails offer everything from tips and stories to quizzes.
  4. Join the Dry January Community Facebook group. It’s a chance to get support and tips from others.
  5. Follow us on social media @DryJanuary on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for daily support to keep you motivated.

If the app isn’t working as you expected, please visit our help centre.

Below are tips for a successful Dry January using our Try Dry app.

Common questions

Whether you’re taking on Dry January or cutting down longer-term the app is your year-round support system that allows you to:

  • Track your units, calories and money saved
  • Set goals that suit you. Whether you want to complete Dry January, stay dry every day except Saturday or cut your drinking in half – you can!
  • 59 badges available to achieve with in-app celebrations every time
  • Exclusive free coaching emails (if you want them)
  • Progress charts offering a weekly report of your drinking and unit, calorie and money savings
  • Daily motivation. Receive a reminder every day, at a time that suits you.
  • Use the drinking risk quiz to check up on your drinking
  • Led by science, developed for you. Our app combines behavioural science with a highly responsive approach to feedback from users.
  • Totally free. No hidden costs, no annoying ads.

Yes! The Try Dry app can support you to keep track of your drinking all year round and thousands of users keep going with many taking on our 90-day challenge ‘Sober Spring’.

You don’t have to stay dry to keep using the app.

With our new custom goal function, you can set personalised goals. Want to set a goal to drink nine units a week and specify which days of the week you drink? You can! Want to stay dry every day but Saturday? You can! Our new custom goals function is here letting you set the goals that suit you.

You don’t need to set a goal either, you can keep going with the app to keep a log of your drinking and if you’re reducing your drinking you’ll still get new badges.

Tip: retake the in-app Drinking Health Quiz regularly to see how your recent drinking compares with previous months.

Try Dry is the only app brought to you by us, the official charity behind Dry January, Alcohol Change UK.

Our app combines behavioural science with a highly responsive approach to feedback from users. We’ve been working on the app for years, and as experts in reducing alcohol harm, we know what we’re doing!

There are no annoying adverts, it’s totally free and it’s proven to double your chances of having a month totally alcohol-free.

You can only have one goal set at a time. This draws from consistent findings from behavioural science that having a single goal is far more effective than having multiple goals, because it gives you focus.

You can edit your current goal at any time, changing it to something else.

Of course, you can achieve multiple goals over time. Once you’ve achieved a goal, it will appear in your 'achieved goals' list and you can then set a new goal.

Simply, a badge is something awarded to you by the app, without you having to do anything other than achieve its criteria; whereas a goal is something you deliberately choose to set for yourself.

Many of the badges that you can be awarded are also selectable as a goal. The custom goals function allows you to create a goal that is unique to you.

Try Dry is the only app brought to you by the official charity of Dry January, Alcohol Change UK. Our app combines behavioural science with a highly responsive approach to feedback from users.

Download Try Dry: the Dry January app for Apple or Android.

There are lots of apps with similar names, but only Try Dry is proven to double your chances of success.

The app for Dry January 2018 and before was named “Dry January & Beyond”. This app was provided by Cyberliver/Zanec. They have now replaced this app with “Dry Days by AlcoChange”. This is not associated with Dry January or Alcohol Change UK.

Enter your drinking data

A number of users have requested the ability to enter ‘drank as planned’ or ‘dry day’ for a date in the future, e.g. a particular event when they want to stay dry. This is not yet possible but is on our list of possible future developments. We rely on donations from the public to keep running the app and making developments!

On the dashboard, a ‘week’ is defined as the period from (and including) the most recent Monday. So if today is a Friday and you select the ‘week’ tab at the top of the dashboard, the dashboard will show your total dry days in the circle, and your total savings of units, money and calories, for the five days Monday to Friday inclusive. If you’ve not yet entered Friday’s data, there will be data for Monday to Thursday only.

On the calendar, weeks are presented as starting on Monday in the visual display.

In the charts function, you can choose whether ‘week’ is defined as the last seven days, or this week/last week from Monday.

For those badges and pre-set goals that reward you for weekly achievements, such as the Reducer badge and the UK Moderator badge, a week is again defined as starting on a Monday. This means that if you start successfully moderating on a Tuesday, you would go 13 days successfully moderating before getting your ‘1 week UK Moderator’ badge, because it wouldn’t start counting until the Monday, which is the sixth day. This keeps the app simpler and easier to use.

The custom goals function lets you set the exact start date and end date of any goal, so if you want to count your moderation from today, when today is not a Monday, then use that function instead.

In the UK, a unit is a standard measure of alcohol, specifically 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol. The big advantage of the unit is that is allows clear comparison between drinks of different types. It allows you to keep a track on the actual alcohol you are drinking, which is much more accurate and important than the number of 'drinks', which is a very vague concept.

For more information, read our guide to units in common drinks.

A few other countries also use units, but many others use 'standard drinks'. Check out the international section below.

‘Drink as planned’ is a really important element in the Try Dry app. It allows you to keep a record of where you had a planned drink, and this is marked in grey rather than black on the calendar. This recognises that total sobriety is not for everyone and that planned, controlled drinking is a very positive outcome for many people.

People sometimes ask whether ‘drink as planned’ means:

  • I planned to have a drink that day (even if I drank more than I intended), or
  • I drank only what I planned to drink that day.

At Alcohol Change UK, we think it’s vital that the app is yours and works for you, so it’s your choice which of those two definitions of 'drank as planned' you want to use. However, our professional advice is that the second definition (I drank what I planned to drink) is the better of the two options, as it holds you more accountable and emphasises being in control of your drinking, which is what the Try Dry app is about.

When it comes to badges and goals, ‘dry streaks’ and ‘dry days’ do of course treat ‘drank as planned’ as drinking days.

My savings and progress

Your financial savings are based on two figures, both of which you can edit:

  • Your baseline drinking setting
  • The cost of the drinks you have drunk

If you want your financial savings to be accurate, you should edit both of these, as explained below.

Changing baseline drinking setting

When entering your baseline drinking setting, the app will estimate your weekly expenditure on alcoholic drinks based on what you drink, using average UK prices. But of course prices vary considerably, especially from venue to venue, brand to brand, and country to country. So you can edit the baseline drinking cost by tapping on the pencil icon in the black circle next to ‘Cost’ and insert your own figure.

Changing the cost of the drinks you have drunk

When entering a drink on the ‘Add drink’ screen, there are two ways to change the price of the drink:

  • You can click ‘shop bought’ or ‘bar/pub/restaurant’ at the top of the screen, which will give you a rough estimate of the price based on where you bought it, again using UK average prices.
  • If you want something more accurate, however, you can enter the exact price per drink lower down that screen, by tapping on the pencil icon in the black circle next to ‘Cost per drink’.

The dashboard shows totals for your dry days and for your savings of units, calories and money for four different time periods. By default it is set to ‘total’, which shows your total achievements since setting up the account. However, there are three other tabs you can select, below the circular ‘dry days’ counter:

• ‘Week’ – shows your totals for the week to date, from (and including) the most recent Monday

• ‘Month’ – shows your totals for the calendar month to date, from (and including) 1st of the current month to today

• ‘Year’ – shows your totals for the calendar year to date, from (and including) 1 Jan of the current year to today

Secondly, the calendar item at the bottom of the screen allows you to view your calendar for this month and any previous month, which shows how you are doing, in terms of which days you drank, had a planned drink, or stayed dry in a simple visual way.

The progress item at the bottom of the screen takes you to the powerful charts function. This will allow you to select any date range (tap EDIT next to the pencil icon) and, from the top of the screen, show units or calories consumed or money spend, as well as your totals and average for that period.

Note that the charts function shows what you have consumed/spent, whereas the dashboard shows what you have saved. The charts function shows how much you have drunk on a particular day, week, month; unlike the calendar which shows when you drank, but not how much.

The savings at the top of the dashboard – for units, money and calories – are calculated by comparing your total for each week with the weekly ‘baseline drinking’ that you have set for yourself.

Your ‘baseline drinking’ is your estimate of your average weekly drinking before using the app. If you have not yet set your ‘baseline drinking’, then savings will not yet be shown. Set your ‘baseline drinking’ to get the most from the app.

The savings can be shown for four different time periods:

  • ‘Total’ – shows your savings since creating your account
  • ‘Week’ – shows your savings for the week to date, from (and including) the most recent Monday
  • ‘Month’ – shows your savings for the calendar month to date, from (and including) first day of the current month to today
  • ‘Year’ – shows your savings for the calendar year to date, from (and including) 1 January of the current year to today.

The savings totals for month, year and total are cumulative, so adding up every week for the period in question.

Languages and international app use

The app has been translated into French and German, thanks to Fédération Addiction and Blaues Kreuz Schweiz.

The language of the app is set by default to match the language used on your device. However, it can be changed manually in Settings > Edit account details.

Alcohol Change UK is open to approaches from agencies wishing to translate the app into their own language.

The Moderator badge, which can also be chosen as a goal, is referred to in the app as the ‘UK Moderator’ badge/goal because it is based on the UK guidance for low-risk drinking, which is 14 UK units per week for both men and women.

Currently, different countries give different guidance about what they define as ‘low-risk drinking’.

  • In the UK, it is defined as a maximum of 14 UK units (10ml) a week for both men and women, which is 140ml of neat alcohol a week.
  • In France, it is defined as a maximum of 2 verres standard (12.7ml) a day and 10 verres standard a week for both men and women, which is 25.4ml of neat alcohol a day and 127ml of neat alcohol a week.
  • In Switzerland, it is defined as 3 verres standard or Gläser (15.2ml) a day for men (45.6ml) and 2 for women (30.4ml), with no weekly guidance.

If you want to set a goal to moderate (drinking within low-risk limits) for your own country, use the custom goal function.

  • In France, go to Progress > Goals > Custom Goal > Limit the units I drink > and decide whether you’d like to set a daily limit of 2 units or a weekly limit of 10 units.
  • In Switzerland, go to Progress > Goals > Custom Goal > Limit the units I drink > and set a daily limit of 3 units for men, 2 units for women, and if you identify as neither male or female, choose 3 if your body is large body and 2 if your body is medium-sized or small.
  • In other countries, look up your national guidance and set the goal accordingly.

Different countries use different definitions of ‘units’ or ‘standard drinks’ to refer to a standard unit of alcohol. These allow clear comparisons between drinks of different types and enable you to keep a proper track on the actual alcohol you are consuming.

For example:

  • The UK uses the ‘unit’ which is 8g or 10ml of neat alcohol.
  • France uses ‘verres standard’ which is 10g or 12.7ml of neat alcohol.
  • Switzerland uses ‘verres standard’ or ‘Standardglas’ or ‘Gläser’ which is 12g or 15.2ml of neat alcohol.
  • The US uses ‘standard drink’ which is 14g or 17.7ml of neat alcohol.

Try Dry allows you to choose one of three definitions of units: UK, French and Swiss because Alcohol Change UK has a partner in France (Fédération Addiction) and a partner in Switzerland (Blaues Kreuz Schweiz). Alcohol Change UK is open to working with partners in countries who would like the app to include their definition and to work for their citizens.

The default setting is based on the country you say you are in when you signed-up, but it can be manually changed in Settings > Edit account details.

The calculations of ‘units’ used in the app is based on this setting, even if it uses the word ‘unit’.

Other questions

New for 2021

The app you are using for 2021 has been updated thanks to valuable feedback from people who took on Dry January 2020, as a small charity we’ve worked hard to take this on board to make our app better. We hope you love it as much as we do.

  • Custom Goals. Set personalised goals to suit you.
  • Sign Up. We’ve made signing up even easier than before, with less questions!
  • Speed. We’ve invested in better app hosting (making it less likely you’ll experience downtime)
  • Translation. The app is now available in French and German, supporting people internationally.

We’ve also worked hard to fix any glitches you may have experienced before and we’ve even updated the dashboard. You’ll need to update the app to see all of these changes. Head to the Apple or Google Play store to check you’re using the latest version.

Can I suggest something?

Yes! Sign up to our emails here and after Dry January 2021 is over we’ll reach out for feedback, positive or negative, and we will work hard to incorporate it into future app updates.

We don’t take on improvement feedback in January (it’s pretty busy!) but if you do spot something that isn’t working as it should please let us know via our help centre.

6.5 million people plan to do Dry January 2021, that’s incredible! If you want to help grow the movement, you can:

  1. Rate us. App store ratings help people find the Try Dry app, help us spread its reach with a review. It only takes a minute and good ratings can help our app be found by those who need it.
  2. Tell your friends. With more flexibility to set a goal that suits everyone, now is a great time to share the app with friends and encourage them to join you on your journey.
  3. Give what you save. You’ll be sure to save some money by taking on Dry January. If you’re able to, you can donate a percentage of what you save in the app.
  4. Fundraise. Your Dry January can make a difference, and not just for your health. Here’s how to get started.

The mobile application is not intended for use, and must not be used, by people under 18 years of age. If you are under 18 and concerned about your drinking, you should talk confidentially to you GP as soon as possible.

Please check out the Try Dry help centre, which may answer your question. If it doesn't there is a form at the bottom of the page that you can complete and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.